Monday, November 29, 2010

The devil's workshop or the devil himself?

They say, an unoccupied mind is the devil's workshop. Well here's an unoccupied mind here. Where's the devil?

I've been spending the last few of months, practically doing nothing. I did some of the photography thing. Then, when it started getting boring, I did some gaming. Played some of the Ego Draconis, NFSMW, Splinter Cell and SC Pandora Tomorrow. When all the games were over, here I was unoccupied again. Then there was this advertisement in the paper about a photography competition (No, I still don't read the newspaper. Dad showed it to me). But their print aspect ratio was one of a kind. Not 16:9, not 16:10 and definitely not 4:3, which was the ratio of my photographs. They wanted huge prints for one to participate in it, and such a great place for photographers this place is, the best photo printers in town didn't have that big a paper. So I had to drop the plan. Then there came this lucid dreaming thing. I got inspired after watching Inception. Sinofemp used to talk about these lucid dream things when we lived together. He'd say that he was dreaming and found something unusual. And then he'd realize that he was dreaming and start doing whatever he wanted. Mostly he'd fly like Superman. I trained my ass to do that for a couple of weeks, but as they'd put it, it needs a lot of patience just for you to get the first lucid dream. Patience, as it turns out is my worst nightmare when I see no development at all. I did have one though, much after I stopped trying, but the moment I realized I was dreaming, I woke up panting heavily. But it did add to the patience thing after all. Then there came this urge to watch movies about lucid dreaming. So I watched A waking life. And the visuals of it amazed me so much, that I started researching into how they had the patience to make such lifelike animations. Turns out the animation was outsourced to another company, who use this Rotoshop thing to make the animations. But it was closed source and they didn't source it outside the company. So there went my endeavor to try the software. And as with every new kind of program I find, I started finding Open Source alternatives. I found just one (among the automated ones and not the ones in which you have to manually draw the outline of the subject, which was not possible for me, taking into consideration that I'd work with videos, which would be about 30 frames for one second. And then I found a script. Days later, I made a version of that script that gave me my lifelike animations. And after the Splinter Cell thing, I developed a thing for Espionage and as such. Started watching movies about espionage. Realistic ones. Not the gadgetry bullshit of movies like James Bond. Although with Daniel Craig, it is much more realistic nowadays. At the time of Brosnon, it was comedy more and espionage less. Now that I'm done with the Wikipedia list of spy films, I'm watching whatever I can lay my hands on. Mostly open source movies. Wikipedia has been a hell of a companion lately. I'd wake up night after night reading stuff which will probably never be of any use to me. But at least I like reading those. It's not like reading to pass in a goddamn exam. It's not like pretending that you're digesting the stuff well when you're hating every single bite of it.

And, yes I did come up with a small project with that script I made:

Time and again, I find me questioning myself - What's this life all about. The answer, as I well know is imprinted in my brain. But as I'd always put, when you see no developments, patience dies. But hope doesn't. And that's what keeps you at it, whether you consciously realize that or not.

At present, I'm thinking of taking up an open source movie project using the rotoscoping script I wrote two days ago. But again, you need other people to work with you to make a movie. Skouzer made the solo of our first song a few days ago. With the exams on and no time to record it all, we're still waiting for the recording and production. Ironically, there's still two more songs to be completed and it doesn't remotely seem to me that we'll meet the deadline. But again, there's noone above us to kick our asses if we don't. The question now remains, what do we do when we have released the songs. Will they get any attention in this world of corporations? Will an endeavor with zero capital be successful? Time has the answer and I'm willing to find out.

Oh, and I did make an antenna for my wifi card. After two years of waiting, I got the connectors and wires in eBay. Unfortunately that's used to wire just the antennas to PCI cards for desktops and not laptops. The guy's gonna get me the  laptop connectors tomorrow though. And I made a parabolic reflector out of paper recently, which I plan to use for the antenna. Ironically you don't get those pringles cans here (because you don't get pringles), which means I'd have to make that out of paper and aluminum foil as well. Once I get that connector, I'll be up and running to hack my way into all the wireless networks around. It's funny how people don't realize how insecure they are in this world. One password and they think it's all safe. Nothing really is. Two years ago I hacked into one of these networks, probably from a hotel nearby. The admins probably knew that encryption could be easily broken by novices using programs. S they used MAC (Media Access Control not the Apple's Mac) filtering. But your humble friend here isn't a novice now, is he? I did break into the network, but finding their gateways was a real pain in the ass. Never really got through that and the next chance I got, I was too late. The people I gave my laptop to, to fix my screen ripped off my wifi card and antenna cables and lost them and down it all went. I had to fight with those fuckers for a week to get them to give me a new card. They didn't attach the wires though. I've been searching for the connectors ever since.

And soon, it will all be over. But I can't help but question myself - when?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A rotoscope script

For those who don't know what a rotoscope is, it is a cartoon, created essentially from a non cartoon image. You take a photograph and turn it to a cartoon and it's a rotoscope.

I've been doing some of it since the past few days. I came across quite a few programs for both imagery and video. The greatest one (in my opinion), was a hack and not a program created by a youtube user about which I found out from a google search. Here's that original rotoscope hack.

The results were, however, not quite upto my needs. So I worked on it, and now I have a modified hack of that script, which I used to make this video.

You just get a video, get this script and a few packages and you're up and running. Bad news for my Windoze friends, as this only works on Linux. I don't know for sure at this point if the used programs are available for Windows, but if they are, I'll write a batch script to do the same on windows. Till then, use a live Ubuntu CD.

Here's the script:

Automatic rotoscope hack